Decentralization musings

I have mixed feelings on decentralization. I think it's mostly a good thing, but now I'm beginning to see that it's not really something that is sustainable.

Consider the Internet. It started out as a bunch of networked machines that were mostly accessible by everyone. Now it's a somewhat small set of services used by a lot more people.

This is upsetting to some people. I get that, since it kind of irks me too. But at the same time I can't deny the convenience of these things. For example, I'm not going to set up my own mail server, I'm going to use someone else's setup.

Here's where I don't totally get on the decentralization train. I think it's important to be able to set up your own mail server, but you shouldn't have to. I think that's ludicrous. The fact of the matter is that running your own services isn't easy which is why using someone else's is so prevalent.

Am I uncomfortable with putting many eggs in one basket? Yes. Am I content with managing all the stuff to do it myself? No. There are only so many hours in the day.

While I've always struggled with this, I'm starting to see evidence that some form of centralization is the natural order of things after a while. I suspect it has something to do with the concept of property. It's still a fuzzy concept in my head.

I'm probably going to post some more stuff like this to work it out a bit. It's a topic that has really started to eat away at me.

-- Geoff (